Jen Williams, left, political editor at the Manchester Evening News, says political journalism needs to re-establish its “value and credentials” following Thursday’s vote, which resulted in no party gaining an overall majority.
If not, Jen believes newspapers will face the “terrifying” prospect of being drowned out by fake news websites in future.
Despite a 20pc lead for the Tories at the start of the campaign, subsequent polls showed a steady narrowing of the gap – although few predicted it to be close enough to result in a hung parliament.
On Twitter, Jen wrote: “Pretty much all media failed to see Labour surge coming. Some of this was for reasonable reasons and some was a failure in journalism. Before everyone goes back to business as usual, might be wise for British journalists to reflect carefully and honestly on the reasons.
“There is a democratic reason for this, never mind the practical ones and just generally the ones about self respect. Because he terrifying anti-journalism narrative that has been rising over the last year or two here and in the US has been fuelled further, it’s not enough to say ‘let’s get [political blog] The Canary on tv to compensate for our failure’.
“If political journalism can’t re-establish its value and credentials, there are plenty of fake news sites waiting to drown it out. Personally, that’s terrifying.”
Jen admitted that the Manchester Arena terror attack, which took place during the course of election campaign and was covered with widespread acclaim by the MEN, had inevitably impacted on its election coverage.
She added: “The thing I wish I’d done far more of is spend ages and ages talking to voters. Will definitely do more next time.
“Although in fairness we had extensive plans for this pre-Arena attack. I’m sure we won’t have long to wait for another bite at it anyway.”
Jen won the specialiast journalist of the year award at last month’s Regional Press Awards.